Johannes Hevelius' DracoThales took your wings
gave them to Ursa Minor
perhaps feeling
you had outgrown
your need for
little bears.
Here you went from
scaly mass to slithering
star wrap, a pointed tail
over big bear's back.

How proud you were
of Thuban, your star pupil,
guiding the burial chambers
of Giza for Pharaoh Khufu.
Then Thales made Polaris
the star, and you stood
by him, knowing Thuban's
time would come again.

Remember how,
evicted from earth
like a leper
you cartwheeled
like a trout, flailed for your
position in the heavens,
voice dry as Cronus
after he vomitted
back his young.
You were the snarled
serpent in the sky,
wicked and coiling,
wings suffocating
the bears as you nestled
in the night sky, tail
at the nose of a bear
horns under the heel
of Hercules.

Copyright © 2008, Janie Hofmann

Image Credit: Istituto di Fisica Generale Applicata, Università degli Studi di Milano

Janie Hofmann lives and writes in Vancouver, BC. She has two fish, a budgie and an old tabby cat. When not writing, she can usually be found in her garden. Her work has appeared in Aoife's Kiss, Word Riot and Static Movement, and will be coming up in Scifaikuest and Tales from the Moonlit Path.